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Saturday, 17 September 2011

My experience with radiotherapy for NPC - using TomoTherapy

"Hi, my name is Sylvia, I was diagnosed with NPC stage 1 in Mar 2010; and went through 35 radiotherapy treatments. I'd say I was lucky in that Tomo Therapy was recommended to me by my Radio Oncologist.  This treatment targets at the tumour with lesser dosage on the surrounding organs resulting to me having minimal side effects.

After seven weeks of Radio therapy, I was left with only darker shades of skin on my neck, but with my deligent application of Aloe Vera gel and Vit E cream, my skin recovered in 6 months.  I had only 1 day of ulcer infection and recovered the next day.  I experienced lost of taste buds (recovered), mild dry throat/mouth, and needless to say the nose is the most affected in that I had to douch my nose to clear crusts twice a day.  I would say that I was lucky to have started TCM prescription in preparation of the radio therapy way before my treatments started.  I continued to receive TCM advice and herbal prescriptions till today.

You wouldn't believe, my tongue was 'purplish blue" in colour after the radio therapy.  According to the TCM physicians whom I've consulted, both said they have never seen such an "ugly" tongue - this denotes that my metabolism rate was low resulting to the toxin from the radio therapy not being expelled in time and accumulated in my system.  I'm glad to say that today, my tongue is as pink as the roses in my garden !!

During my treatment days, besides vegetable juicing, I would double boil soups alternate days.  Let me share some of the soups I believe helped in my speedy recovery which I hope you will find useful:

Boil for 3 hrs
Chinese pear ('xue li")
('nan pei xin")
white fungus
"Yu Ju"
Honey date (optional)
Water

I drink this 3 times a week and gradually reduce to twice a week; and now I drink only if I find it necessary..

Other soups which I frequently boil are:

Water cress with pork ribs, almonds ('Nan Bei Xin"); and honey dates.
Fresh "huai San" with pork ribs, and cordecep flowers ("dong chong cao hua")
"Qing Shan Xue Lian" with pork ribs
"Fen ke" with pork ribs

I'm now into meditation for better health !!




Sylvia

18 months NPC cancer survivor

4 comments:

  1. Some questions (by administrator) and answers (by Slyvia)

    1) What is tomography - actually it is called tomotherapy and how is this compared to IMRT or standard radiation?

    I don't know but I was told it's tomography and from the seminars I attended it's the same as IMRT. It targets at the tumor and the neighbouring organs will be least affected as they are given lesser dosage.

    2) Is there an ideal cream for the skin? Is Aloe vera necessary?

    After radiation, the skin feels 'sun burnt' and aloe vera is a natural cooling agent to counteract the heat. I've been using it the day I started the radiation and my skin was even better than before (I was told).

    3) Nasal douching - when to start using and for how long?

    I started using the nasal douching (twice a day) after my 7 weeks of radiation as crust started to form at the back of the nose. In fact, up to now, I'm still douching my nose, but only when I feel uncomfortable.

    4) The role of Traditional Chinese Medicine - is it best given before RT? Can it be used in combination with chemo and RT? When can TCM start after RT. And what TCM helps since there are so many different combination.

    I started my TCM 1 week before RT as I was preparing my body to receive the RT. I did not go thru chemo, but I was told by the patients at the TCM that even when they were undergoing chemo, they visited the TCM.

    5) And your sharing of herbal soup is excellent! And you are using the "cold" products to reduce the heat of RT and Chemo in TCM terms.

    Yes, and more importantly soothing for the throat as I did not stop singing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing such good information

    can you please inform us about dry mouth side effect and when does it released and recovered from?

    I am also under tomotherapy but i have difficulty in saliva production and hard to sowllwo

    waiting for your reply

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sanea,

      The side effects of dry mouth is due to lack of saliva production. This typically start around 4-5 weeks after starting your treatment and will get worse after completion of radiotherapy (is your case - tomotherapy). You will find that your saliva will become very thick and less watery and subsequently the saliva is very much reduced. The saliva production will remain low but will gradually improves after a few months up to 1-2 years.

      I would advise mouth, tongue and jaw exercises (like chewing) as it helps to stimulate saliva production. You can try a sugar free bubble gum to help chewing but it is technically not the bubble gum but the chewing exercises that help. Start doing this as soon as possible during and after your tomotherapy. During the time when your mouth is dry, you can try to use artificial saliva that contains the salivary enzymes. The brands that are currently in the market are like Oral 7 and Biotene.

      Hope this helps.

      Medical Adviser NPC support group

      Delete
  3. Hi Sanea,

    The side effects of dry mouth is due to lack of saliva production. This typically start around 4-5 weeks after starting your treatment and will get worse after completion of radiotherapy (is your case - tomotherapy). You will find that your saliva will become very thick and less watery and subsequently the saliva is very much reduced. The saliva production will remain low but will gradually improves after a few months up to 1-2 years.

    I would advise mouth, tongue and jaw exercises (like chewing) as it helps to stimulate saliva production. You can try a sugar free bubble gum to help chewing but it is technically not the bubble gum but the chewing exercises that help. Start doing this as soon as possible during and after your tomotherapy. During the time when your mouth is dry, you can try to use artificial saliva that contains the salivary enzymes. The brands that are currently in the market are like Oral 7 and Biotene.

    Hope this helps.

    Medical Adviser NPC support group

    ReplyDelete